Ever Wonder How Long It Took to Build the Tabernacle? Why Should You Care?

Today’s Reading: Exodus 38-40

The Bible bears witness to Jesus.

All of it, in one way, shape, or form, is used by the Holy Spirit to teach us about Jesus.

In Matthew 5:18, Jesus said, “For truly, I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away, not an iota, not a dot, will pass from the Law until all is accomplished.”

Jesus was saying that he would accomplish, or fulfill, every single part of the law. Every dotting of the “i” and every crossing of the “t”.

And, it never ceases to amaze me how true this is. In absolutely unbelievable detail, Jesus fulfilled the law, the whole Old Testament. Every time the Holy Spirit shows me some new, minute detail that Jesus fulfilled I come to a greater appreciation that the Bible indeed was inspired by the Holy Spirit to bear witness to Jesus.

If you’ve been reading through the Bible with me, then you’ve been reading about the tabernacle and its construction for the last five days. God spent a lot of time giving us painstaking detail about the tabernacle – how it was made, what it was made of, and who made it. And, if you’ve been reading my posts, then you would know that the tabernacle is a picture of Jesus.

But, did you catch how long the tabernacle was under construction? Did you notice the subtle clues?

Nine plagues had been brought on Egypt. Then, in Exodus 12:1, God said to Moses and Aaron, “This month shall be for you the beginning of months. It shall be the first month of the year for you.” God continued by telling Moses about the Passover that would take place during this first month. The Passover occurred on the 15th of the first month at the new moon.

It was exactly one month later that God rained down manna on Israel in the wilderness of Sin. Exodus 16:1 says, “They set out from Elim, and all the congregation of the people of Israel came to the wilderness of Sin, which is between Elim and Sinai, on the fifteenth day of the second month after they had departed from the land of Egypt.” Israel was now into the second month of the year at the second new moon of the year.

The next date that was recorded by Moses is found in Exodus 19:1, which says, “On the third new moon after the people of Israel had gone out of the land of Egypt, on that day they came into the wilderness of Sinai.” The third new moon was the 15th day of the third month. It was at this time that Israel camped at the foot of Mt. Sinai.

Also, it was at this time that Moses went up the mountain for 40 days and 40 nights. Probably everyone knows that Moses received the 10 commandments while he was on the mountain. But, Moses also received something else while he was on the mountain just after the third new moon in the third month of the first year that Israel went out of Egypt.

What else did Moses receive while he was on the mountain? The answer is found in Exodus 25:1-9, which says, “The Lord said to Moses, ‘Speak to the people of Israel, that they take for me a contribution. From every man whose heart moves him you shall receive the contribution for me. And this is the contribution that you shall receive from them: gold, silver, and bronze, blue and purple and scarlet yarns and fine twined linen, goats’ hair, tanned rams’ skins, goatskins, acacia wood, oil for lamps, spices for the anointing oil and for the fragrant incense, onyx stones, and stones for setting, for the ephod and for the breastpiece. And let them make me a sanctuary, that I may dwell in their midst. Exactly as I show you concerning the pattern of the tabernacle, and of all its furniture, so shall you make it.’” In the third month of the year, Moses received the exact instructions from God on how and with what to build the tabernacle. You could say that is was in the third month that God conceived the tabernacle.

But, 15 chapters later, following detail after detail after detail on the making of the tabernacle, Exodus 40:1 says, “The Lord spoke to Moses, saying, ‘On the first day of the first month you shall erect the tabernacle of the tent of meeting.’”

Do you see it? Do you see how the long the tabernacle was under construction? Do you see how long it was from the time the tabernacle was conceived to the time it was erected, or birthed?

Exodus 40:1 was the start of the second year since Israel left Egypt. The tabernacle was erected, or birthed, nine months after it was conceived. The tabernacle is a picture of Jesus. Luke 1 and 2 give the timing of Jesus’ birth. Of course we know that it was nine months from conception to birth as Jesus was a man just like us. Also, John 1:14 says, “And the Word became flesh and dwelt [tabernacle] among us.” The Word of God, Jesus, that tabernacled among his people was birthed a man nine months after he was conceived by the Holy Spirit in his mother’s womb. In yesterday’s post, I wrote about how the Holy Spirit built the tabernacle of Jesus.

And, in Psalm 139:13-15, David writes about Jesus, “For you formed my inward parts; you knitted me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well. My frame was not hidden from you, when I was being made in secret, intricately woven in the depths of the earth.” Did you notice all the talk of embroidery, needlework, and weaving when the tabernacle was being made? And, David, speaking of Jesus, says God knitted him together?

Isn’t the Bible amazing in its accuracy in bearing witness to Jesus?

But, it gets even better.

Once the tabernacle was erected, Exodus 40:34-35 says, “Then the cloud covered the tent of meeting, and the glory of the Lord filled the tabernacle. And Moses was not able to enter the tent of meeting because the cloud settled on it, and the glory of the Lord filled the tabernacle.” When the tabernacle was erected, or birthed, it was filled with the glory of the Lord. And Moses, who represents the law, was not able to enter the tent of meeting, or tabernacle, because of the glory of Lord that filled the tabernacle.

What is this teaching us?

John 1:14, 16-17 says, “And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth…For from his fullness we have all received, grace upon grace. For the law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ.”

John is describing the birth of Jesus, the Word of God coming into the world, with the same language as the erection of the tabernacle. When Jesus came into the world, he was full of the glory of God just like the tabernacle. This glory was full of grace and truth. The law was given through Moses, but grace and truth came through Jesus. In other words, just as Moses could not enter the tabernacle because of the glory of the Lord, the law did not come through Jesus. The law did not fill, or control, Jesus. Jesus was filled with the glory of the Lord, which was full of grace and truth. The law was not what motivated Jesus to obey the Father. It was not his connection to the Father. Jesus was moved by the grace and truth of God. Jesus was directly connected to the life of God. Jesus moved by the Holy Spirit to glorify his father.

John 1:18 concludes by saying, “No one has ever seen God; the only God, who is at the Father’s side, he has made him known.” Moses, the law, did not make God known. But, Jesus, the tabernacle, filled with the glory of the Lord, who is the only God and at the Father’s side, he has revealed God. We see God through Jesus, not the law.

Every detail, and I mean every detail, reveals Jesus.

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